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42-31243

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 8/10/43; Gr Island 19/10/43; Wilmington 27/10/43;

Slated 94BG, Assigned 427BS/303BG Molesworth 18/11/43;
Missing in Action Leverkusen 1/12/43 with Allan Eckhart, Co-pilot: Elton Jenkins, Navigator: George Arvanites, Bombardier: Bob Meagher, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Francis Nevner, Radio Operator: Fred Kuehl, Ball turret gunner: Angelo Tambe, Waist gunner: Mike Musashe, Waist gunner: Ed Madak, Tail gunner: Nyle Smith (10 Returned to Duty); no gas, ditched Sandwich Flats, Sandwich Bay, off Walmer, Kent, all rescued by Air Sea Rescue and taken to Manston, Kent. No MACR.

The crash site is on the Sandwich Flats, Sandwich Bay, Sandwich, Kent. It is the only B-17 inshore and local records do confirm this. On February 13th 2016 it was exposed on an extremely low tide. Both wings are present and the second engine nacelle is intact with a damaged propeller, a Tokyo tank is visible in a wing and is in excellent condition. There is also a field of debris around the wreck site. The fuselage is gone.

Service

Units

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 427th Bomb Squadron

People

  • George Arvanites

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group
    Hit by flak just after bombs away on a mission to Wizernes, FR on 26 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-31929 'Tennessee Hillbilly' crashed N of Sr Olmer after the crew bailed out. Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Alan Eckhart

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot / Co-pilot | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Elton Jenkins

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    1 December 1943 on return from mission to Solingen, Germany, B-17 #42-31243 ran out of fuel and ditched in the English Channel where ASR took them to Manston. 10 Returned to duty (RTD). Pilot was Allan Eckhart (or Eckart).

  • Fred Kuehl

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator; Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 427BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. 26 x combat missions. Eckhart crew. On return from mission to Solingen, Germany, B-17 42-31243 ran out of fuel and ditched in the English Channel where ASR took them to Manston 1-Dec-43. Returned to Duty (RTD). ...

  • Edward Madak

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA). Shot down 4 January 1944 in B-17 #42-31526 'Lil' Butch'. Target was Kiel. Reported to have been shot by Navy flak west of Helgoland Island. ...

  • Robert Meagher

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    1 December 1943 on return from mission to Solingen, Germany, B-17 #42-31243 ran out of fuel and ditched in the English Channel where ASR took them to Manston. 10 Returned to duty (RTD). Pilot was Allan Eckhart (or Eckart).

  • Michael Musashe

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 29 April 1944 in B-17 #42-31241 'Spirit of Wannette', Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • Francis Neuner

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Flight Engineer | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 427BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. 38 x combat missions. 1-Dec-43 on return from mission to Solingen, Germany, B-17 42-31243 ran out of fuel and ditched in the English Channel where ASR took them to Manston. 10 Returned to duty (RTD). Pilot was Alan...

  • Nyle Smith

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Earlier 1 December 1943 on return from mission to Solingen, Germany, B-17 #42-31243 ran out of fuel and ditched in the English Channel where ASR took them to Manston. 10 Returned to duty (RTD). Pilot was Allan Eckhart (or Eckart).

  • Angelo Tambe

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    1 December 1943 on return from mission to Solingen, Germany, B-17 #42-31243 ran out of fuel and ditched in the English Channel where ASR took them to Manston. 10 Returned to duty (RTD). Pilot was Allan Eckhart (or Eckart).

Places

  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...

Events

Event Location Date
Crashed Sandwich Flats, Sandwich Bay, Sandwich, Kent

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
18 November 2020 18:00:40 jmoore43 Changes to production block number and manufacturer
Sources

Added Production block number and Manufacturer per info on the internet for A/C #42-31243.

Date Contributor Update
18 November 2020 16:46:03 jmoore43 Changes to description
Sources

Added a space before the words "Tail gunner" in the A/C “Description” to aid clarity.

Date Contributor Update
12 August 2016 15:31:42 Lucy May Changes to description, events and person associations
Sources

Changed crash site from Pegwell Bay to Sandwich Flats, Sandwich Bay after correspondence with Tony Ovenden who is investigating the area of the wreckage with support from RAF Manston History Museum.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:37 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

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